Once, twice, three times a `Blind Date’

Mar 12, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Viewers’ obsession with reality TV isn’t just in prime time.
Universal’s hit strip “Blind Date” has scored the triple play for footage-driven series in syndication. The addition of five third-runs of the series throughout the country, as well as an additional pickup in the tough-to-crack New York market, has the show poised as
a standard-bearer in the genre.
“Imitation is a sure sign of success, and if you look at NATPE, the most imitated series, with at least three imitators, is `Blind Date,”’ said Bill Carroll, senior vice president of group programming at Katz Television Group. “The series is a proven time-slot winner and can deliver its chosen demographics.”
While triple runs are becoming more common within the strip market for shows that have found their audiences (i.e., Twentieth Television’s airings
of “Divorce Court”), “Blind Date” is now set to undergo a new boost in the multiple-run GAA ratings. The series most recently earned a 2.2 national rating, with a 2.0 in women 18 to 34 and a 1.3 in men 18 to 34.
“Obviously, audiences are enjoying the experience they get from reality television,” said Matt Cooperstein, senior vice president of domestic television syndication at Universal Television. “We’ve received votes of confidence throughout the year from the stations through upgrades and additional runs as our ratings have grown through the season.”
Last week, the series received a third run on UPN affiliate KCOP-TV in Los Angeles, where it will now run at 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 11 p.m., with the added 7:30 p.m. access run coupled with “Seinfeld” at 7 p.m. in April. In addition, Houston’s KPRC-TV will air the series as an hour block at midnight and 12:30 a.m., with
an additional show at 12:30 p.m. KUTP-TV in Phoenix has scheduled a trifecta at 10 p.m., 10:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Seattle’s KTWB-TV will air the show evenings at 6 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.. Finally, San Diego has gone for a triple play on KSWB-TV at noon, 6:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. In addition, New York’s WWOR-TV will form a one-hour block for the show starting at 11 p.m.
WWOR will also launch a weekend airing of the show in an hour block at 7 p.m. on March 17.
“We might as well call ourselves the `Blind Date’ station,” said a source close to KCOP. “It seems to work wherever we place it.”
In fact, last month the 6 p.m. showing of “Blind Date” outperformed all other syndicated series in the ratings on KCOP, nabbing a 4.1 household rating, a 5.2 in women 18 to 34 and a 3.4 in men 18 to 34, more than doubling the next closest series in that demo.
Mr. Cooperstein said season three of the series will deliver more “traveling” shows, in which the “Date” crew tapes matches throughout the United States and Canada, and further integration between the series and its Web site (www.blind
date.excite.com) is planned as well.#